Tips & Tricks Archives - Level 3 Audiovisual

Tips & Tricks

4 Things to Know Before You Buy A Video Wall

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Once confined to company lobbies, secretive government command centers and science fiction movies, video walls are becoming increasingly commonplace across multiple industries including retail, higher education and utility and traffic monitoring applications. And that’s just the beginning. According to a recent industry forecast, the global LED video wall market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 35.1 percent, reaching $73.51 billion by 2025. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, here are some trends to watch—and some important considerations to keep in mind.

 

4 Top Video Walls Trends

Whatever type—and size—of video wall solution you choose, it’s a big investment and you want to make sure it won’t be out of date before you’ve even had a chance to install it. Here are some trends to keep in mind that will help ensure you’re getting the latest in video wall technology for the best price.

  1. LED is getting cheaper. LED video walls have several advantages over LCD video displays, including less visible bezels in larger arrays and better visibility in outdoor applications. The downside is, they are consistently more expensive. But, in our observation, the price is starting to come down. Of course, price shouldn’t be your only consideration but it does matter. And if an LED display is the better solution for you, cost is becoming less of a barrier.
  2. Pixel pitches are getting tighter. Pixel pitch is the distance between the center of one LED cluster—or pixel—and the center of the next pixel. While in some things bigger is better, when it comes to pixel pitch smaller is better, and pixel pitches are getting smaller all the time. A smaller pixel pitch means improved resolution and viewing distance, but it’s also more expensive. If your video wall is somewhere people won’t be standing too close to it—say signage in a large airport terminal or a spacious lobby —you can save money with a larger pixel pitch. In a retail environment or when using an interactive display such as wayfinding on a college campus, a lower pixel pitch is worth the investment.
  3. Displays are becoming more interactive. In response to a growing number of applications in the workplace as well as educational settings, video walls are incorporating more and more interactivity. If your video wall will be used mainly for advertising or brand awareness, interactivity might not be an important feature to invest in. But for video walls with collaborative applications, such as in a conference room or classroom, or for displays designed to provide personalized information or tasks, such as a video wall application in a hotel lobby where guests can check in and out or search for information about local tourist attractions, interactivity is key.
  4. Custom mosaic walls are increasingly popular. Mosaic walls feature a collection of display tiles, usually in three different sizes, that can be arranged in whatever configuration you like. The application is ideal for a place such as a modern office building lobby or university student center where the video wall and its content are part of the décor and architecture. Mosaic walls are also a popular option in mission critical applications, such as in traffic or utility monitoring. Each display tile can show an individual image, so multiple data points can be tracked at once. Or, for a large incident or task, the same image can be displayed across the entire array.

4 Things To Consider Before A Video Wall Investment

Having the latest and greatest is fun and exciting, but also pointless if the right backend software and hardware are not in place. They might not be sexy but here are some practical operational considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Your content management system needs Internet access. IT staff are always on the move and your video wall content management system needs to move with them. Especially for video wall applications where content needs to be updated in real-time—a campus alert system, for example—content needs to be accessible anytime from anywhere. Some cloud subscription packages are even starting to include video wall content hosting.
  2. Your wall needs remote monitoring. There aren’t many—if any—organizations in a position to hire someone to stare at a video wall and sound the alert at the first sign of a glitch or malfunction. Especially for video walls far away from where your IT staff is—in a local store, for example, or across campus—remote monitoring that can help you identify and resolve issues quickly will help minimize downtime and maximize ROI.
  3. Your content needs to be secure. We’ve all seen the action movies where a hacker takes control of a command center video wall and fills the screen with ominous threats or pictures of clowns. Might seem a bit far-fetched but the importance of content security isn’t. Your content management system needs safeguards in place to make sure bad people can’t get in and sensitive information can’t get out.
  4. You need the ability to customize. No two video wall applications are the same and that means no two video walls should be either. From size to configuration, pixel pitch to placement, resolution to color saturation and level of interactivity, you need a solution that can be configured to your needs and not the other way around.

Next Steps

The first step in your path to a video wall investment should be to consider your application and what functionality is most important. Will it be indoor or outdoor? Will people be standing close or far away? In what configuration do I need the displays? Once you have the elements key to your success identified, a professional integrator can help you narrow down the available options to the one that’s best for you.

Upgraded sound systems improve performance and communication.

3 Audio System Upgrades to Consider

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Of all the professions out there likely to run afoul of the law, an IT buyer or AV integrator probably doesn’t come to the top of your mind. But, thanks to new FCC regulations about bandwidth use, your AV solutions—particularly your wireless microphones whether they’re in conference rooms, auditoriums or city council chambers—could be out of compliance. For that, and probably a few other reasons, too, it might be time for your organization to consider a sound system upgrade.

What is the new FCC requirement?

The new regulations from the FCC focus specifically on wireless microphones, but could impact your AV sound system as a whole. Due to increasing demand from other wireless services such as wireless Internet, TV band spectrum in the 600 MHz band has been repurposed and will no longer be available to wireless microphones. Wireless microphones currently operating in the band (the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies) have to cease operation by July 13, 2020 and may be required to stop operating in that band sooner if they start to interfere with new wireless licenses in that band.

The good news is, the FCC has opened up new opportunities for licensed wireless microphone operation on different parts of the spectrum outside the TV broadcast band, including in the 169-172 MHz band and portions of the 900 MHz band, the 1435-1525 MHz, and the 6875-7125 MHz bands. Additional bands have also been opened for unlicensed wireless microphone operators.

And, wait! There’s even more good news. To help with the cost of system upgrades this new regulation will require, and to incentivize organizations to make the change faster, the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate lets you trade in your existing, ineligible system for a rebate on a new, eligible system. Your existing system doesn’t have to be a Shure model to qualify for the rebate. That’s a deal good enough to make you consider whether the time might be right for a full or partial sound system upgrade.

How do I know the time is right for an upgrade?

Sounds systems can be made up of any number of components including wireless microphones and receivers, and can be found in a wide variety of spaces including auditoriums and performance venues, places of worship, corporate conference rooms, public lobbies and college classrooms and lecture halls. Each type of location will have specific audio needs and considerations, but there are some universal indications that you are due for a sound system upgrade.

  1. No one can hear you. “Can you hear me now?” was a catchy advertising slogan, but it gets pretty old pretty fast if you hear it over and over again on a conference call or during a lecture. An audio system’s chief job is to make things, well, audible, so if your sound is garbled, unreliable or otherwise unclear, it’s time for new components or a new system all together.
  2. Your system is jacked. If your audio system requires phone jacks or other cords, it’s time for an upgrade. Corded systems are less reliable, have poorer audio quality and are becoming so rare that companies usually won’t fix or replace them.
  3. Your equipment makes you look bad. How many microphones are in your conference room? Can everyone sit comfortably in their chairs and talk or does everyone have to huddle around one mic and fight to be heard? Does your audio come in and out so employees, clients or students miss too much of what you say? Do you have cheap computer speakers cluttering up your conference table, instead of sleeker, more far-reaching speakers installed on your wall or ceiling? If your organization’s image suffers because of the quality of your AV systems, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

What upgrades are the most worthwhile?

Even with savings from the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, upgrading your sound system can still be an expensive undertaking. If you don’t have the budget for an enterprise overhaul, here are the system components that give you the most bang for your buck.

  1. Microphone systems. Microphones capture the sound of your meeting or lecture or worship service so having a good one is a must. Microphones are also a good place to start because the latest microphone technology can integrate with streaming and webcasting platforms giving you a lot more flexibility in how your audio is used and where it goes.
  2. Control systems. If your audio system needs to fill a variety of needs—for example, in a multi-purpose room that hosts small meetings and large musical performances—an updated audio control system is the best place to start. A centralized, modern control system will let you support one large audio event or run multiple smaller events simultaneously without sacrificing clarity or quality.
  3. Speaker systems. High quality microphones are critical for capturing clear audio and upgraded speakers are essential to broadcasting it. Especially as more employees work remotely and use their own devices for corporate work, quality, durable speakers will help you bridge the audio gap and make it easy to hear anyone no matter where they’re talking from.

Next Steps

For starters, don’t leave money on the table! If you are eligible for the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, act today. Once you have those savings in hand, peruse some of the latest sound system products to see what works best with your upgrade plans. Need help making up your mind? There’s always someone nearby to help.

 

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